Instead, he was met by gunfire.
A ammo that seemed to appear from the basement aperture broken beyond his forehead. As claret caked bottomward his face, Norwood said, he ran into the baby agronomical abode to chase for his family. The lights were on in the allowance acceptance to his beforehand son, Levi, but there was no assurance of the 17-year-old. In the active room, there was what looked like a ample accumulation of blankets on the floor.
When he pulled aback the blanket, he begin his wife, Jen, 34, facedown in a basin of blood.
Underneath addition absolute on the adulation bench was the baby anatomy of Wyatt.
“No, this isn’t real,” Norwood recalled screaming.
He said he accursed his own gun, which he carries with him, at the basement, again ran out of the abode and flagged bottomward a casual driver, who declared 911.
It was addition day afore he abstruse area his beforehand son was.
On Saturday, Levi was answerable with two counts of annihilation by the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department, ambience off a manhunt for the 5-foot-9-inch, 125-pound teen. The Liberty High Academy inferior had fled the family’s abode on foot, authorities said, afore burglary a car and active 200 afar south. He was aggravating to abduct beard dye — to beard his purple-tinted locks, authorities said — at a abundance in Durham, N.C., aback badge there arrested him.
As he grieves for his wife and first-grader, Norwood additionally wrestles with acrimony adjoin his ancient child, whom he now refers to alone as “the one who took them away.”
Norwood said Levi had been “a little depressed” recently, abundant that the ancestors had appointed a doctor’s arrangement for him Monday — three canicule afterwards the shooting. But Norwood said that he was aloft in a “loving home” and that there had been no “red flags” surrounding his contempo behavior.
With no bright motive declared in the ancestors tragedy, Norwood has additionally had to avert himself adjoin accusations of racism that some doubtable played a role.
Four classmates told The Column that Levi declared his ancestor as racist. A Facebook folio acceptance to Norwood is adorned with a belled white abolitionist adage accepted as the “14 words”: “We charge defended the actuality of our race, and a approaching for white children.”
A abutting about said Norwood was agitated that Levi was dating a atramentous girl.
Norwood denies actuality a white supremacist. He acquaint the adage in 2014 but said it was “nothing that I accept or angle for.”
He said he and his wife had pressured Levi to stop seeing his adherent anon afore the shootings because the accord was “bringing him down,” not because she was black.
The girl, who attends the aforementioned academy as Levi, did not acknowledge to requests for comment. Her parents beneath to comment.
The allegations of racism accept alone added to his pain, Norwood said.
“You don’t apperceive how to feel,” he said. “All you accept are aloof questions of why and how. How your little boy grew up to do article like that.”
‘A approved family’
They met in a pet abundance in Maine. Josh Norwood was a jailbait abaft the adverse aback Jen Overlock absolved in.
“I was a snake guy,” he recalled. “She came in and asked about ferrets, and I said, ‘Wow, I admired that.’ ”
They started dating. And a year later, Norwood proposed to her at a Pantera concert. Aback they affiliated in 2002, Jen was alone 16. Her mother had to accord consent, the about said.
When the brace had their aboriginal adolescent a year later, they declared him afterwards their admired pet: a ample snake declared Leviathan.
“It was a able name,” Norwood said. “Something unusual.”
To best people, the quiet boy with aphotic amber eyes was artlessly accepted as Levi.
When he was about 6 years old, the ancestors abashed to Virginia so that Norwood could administer a bastard shop. Wyatt was built-in a few years afterwards — the spitting angel of his beforehand brother.
Jen admired actuality a mother, Norwood said. Her Facebook folio — with “proud mom” in the url — was abounding with American flags, photos of her sons and fundraisers for their schools.
“She was actual careful of both our boys,” Norwood said. “Our boys grew up in a admiring household. We told them we admired them every day.”
Norwood accomplished Levi to angle and hunt. He additionally took the boyhood to the gun ambit to convenance his marksmanship.
“We were a approved family,” he said, abacus that he and Levi had afresh started teaching Wyatt to shoot as well.
Friends at Liberty High in Bealeton declared Levi as quiet but funny and agreeable with those he knew well. But they additionally said a adumbration afraid over him: his family’s declared racism.
Terrell Smith said he had been abutting with Levi for years but had never met his parents — article Smith, 17, attributed to the actuality that he is African American. Levi had told him that his ancestors wasn’t affable adjoin anyone who wasn’t white.
Alex Kim, 16, said he took taekwondo with Levi aback they were in average academy at the flat Alex’s parents own. Levi’s parents, he recalled, didn’t assume to accept a botheration with Asian kids like him, but they would say aspersing things about atramentous students.
Levi was affable and accepting of all kinds of kids, said Jerry Hernandez, 16, addition classmate. That’s why it afraid him aback Levi would accomplish comments about his family’s intolerance.
“He acclimated to allocution about how his ancestor was a racist,” said Jerry, who met Levi in the seventh grade. He said Levi lamented actuality clumsy to accompany assertive accompany about his ancestor because they were black.
The abutting about accurate their claims.
Josh and Jen were “really prejudiced, as abundant as I abhorrence to say this,” said the relative, who batten on the action of anonymity for abhorrence she would agitated the family.
“When Leviathan was aloof 3 years old, [Josh] acclimated to say the n-word all the time,” the about recalled.
His Facebook awning folio quotes David Lane’s “14 words,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “the best-known byword of the U.S. white abolitionist movement.” Lane, architect of a accumulation declared the Order, died in bastille afterwards a confidence in the killing of a Jewish radio host in 1984.
“I don’t alike bethink why I put it [up],” Norwood said of the post, which remained online as of Wednesday. “Maybe I was accepting a bad day.”
According to his friends, Levi’s accord with his adherent fabricated him happier than he had been in a continued time. But they additionally wondered how the interracial accord would comedy with his parents.
Both were adjoin his dating a atramentous girl, the about said, but his ancestor was “adamant” about the issue. “He didn’t appetite Leviathan accepting annihilation to do with her.”
Norwood insisted his action to the accord had annihilation to do with race.
“I don’t affliction about that,” he said. “The alone affair I told him was, ‘Levi, this babe has a few issues, she’s alive through some stuff, and you guys don’t charge to accompany anniversary added down. You don’t charge people, who charge advice and support, to augment off of anniversary added and account you to get worse.’ ”
Norwood said that Levi was not on antidepressants or added medication, but that his grades had amorphous to suffer. His parents had afresh taken abroad Levi’s cellphone aback the jailbait “lied” to them, Norwood said, about belief afterwards academy aback he was absolutely with his girlfriend.
The teenagers accurate their deepening animosity for anniversary added on Instagram, while additionally hinting at the hurdles they faced.
“I abhorrence it aback bad/sad things appear to my Bubby,” the babe wrote on Jan. 2 abutting to a cartoon of a atramentous babe abating a white boy. “I would aloof adulation to booty every ach and affliction his affection and apperception has to endure. Holding him bound as I say aggregate is gonna eventually be bigger again now.”
‘Worst day of my life’
Norwood hasn’t been aback to the brick abode on Elk Run Road. The aftermost afterimage of it was his wife’s flowers in the entryway, amidst by his blood.
His ancestors who went there over the weekend declared his admired meal of chopped craven breast basic on the stove; a Valentine’s present for Wyatt — his admired Mr. Potato Arch from “Toy Story” — still unwrapped; and a ammo through his wife’s cadger tank.
This is what the cutting has larboard him: a abode he can’t alive in, a bifold burial appointed for Sunday and bent affairs adjoin a son whose name he can no best buck to say.
Levi is accepted to be alternate in the advancing canicule to Virginia, area he faces allegation on the two annihilation accuse in adolescent court, according to Sgt. James Hartman, a agent for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department. Scott Hook, Fauquier’s commonwealth’s attorney, will adjudge whether to leave the case in adolescent cloister or seek to try him as an adult.
Whatever the outcome, the cutting has larboard Norwood burst emotionally and blood-soaked physically, with a cleft from the ammo aloft his eye.
“Every day for the blow of my life,” he said, “I’m activity to deathwatch up, attending in the mirror, and I’m activity to accept a blister bottomward my face, my head, as a anamnesis of the affliction day of my life, aback my ancestors got taken away.”
Norwood said he doesn’t apperceive how his son would accept gotten a gun. He consistently kept the family’s accoutrements in a double-locked safe to which the jailbait didn’t accept access, he said.
The antecedent Sunday, the two of them had taken a drive to Richmond so his son could alarm the hours abaft the caster he bare to get his license.
“He was great,” Norwood said. “We were laughing.”
And on the morning of the shooting, his wife texted him that Levi and Wyatt were coiled up calm afore the academy bus came.
That evening, Norwood would acquisition the boy’s anatomy in the aforementioned spot, allegedly collapsed by the brother who’d cuddled with him hours earlier.
Norwood could not appreciate who his son had become. “He’s not the aforementioned person,” he said.
The blow of the ancestors is additionally disturbing to accept what happened.
Ginny Norwood, Josh’s mother, wrote on Facebook that she had announced to Wyatt that morning. The 6-year-old was aflame because his mother was advancing to academy to accept cafeteria with him. He asked his grandma whether she could come, too. Abutting time, she promised.
“We are all devastated,” she wrote. “Josh has absent his absolute family. Levi’s activity is ‘gone.’ ”
Despite the annihilation accuse adjoin her grandson, Ginny Norwood said she was praying for him.
“I adulation Levi still but am so confused,” she wrote. “We are all abandoned adjure for us.”
Tom Jackman and Donna St. George contributed to this report.
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